Is it really a Good Deal or Overpriced?  Don't just blindly trust certain websites.

Who has seen websites like,,, Carfax and now telling you that the price listed is a Great Deal, Good Deal or even Overpriced?  Really.....these sites personally went to all see and drive all of these vehicles?  They had them mechanically and physically inspected?  They know the true vehicle history for accidents, owners, location and maintenance? You already know the answer to those questions.   No they didn't

When shopping for a used vehicle there are lots of things to consider that make a huge impact on the Value/Price. Many websites now days try to tell you if you are getting a good/fair/bad deal. It is important to use these as guides but you really have to know they do come with some major flaws.  Almost everyday I have customers tell me how they went to look at a vehicle at another dealership that was rated as "Great Deal" only to go there and find out that is was no deal at all.  Some have seen vehicle with severe hail damage, some were not mechanically sound, some smelled like smoke and others were clearly in an accident or repainted/repaired poorly.  What looked good on paper was not a true representation of that actual vehicle.

No two used cars are worth the same amount of money. How can these sites tell you if the vehicle is a good deal or not when they only know less than 50% of the details. The condition of the vehicle is one of the most significant impacts on its value. It is even more important than miles and options. Would your rather buy a vehicle with 50,000 miles that is in below average condition, smells like smoke and is in need of mechanical repairs or a vehicle that has 85,000 miles and is in near perfect condition both physically and mechanically. If they both have the same price, these website will tell you the one with the lower miles is the better deal.  These sites don't and can't take the condition into account at all. Most of them also don't know any data from the History Report and therefore can't use that information in their equation. Here are a few examples of things that really affect the value. These values come from Real Shoppers that were surveyed and given the chance to put a value on each item.

One Owner – a one owner vehicle has $750 higher value on a vehicle that is 5 or more years old. It has a value of over $1,000 more compared to a vehicle with 3 owners or if a vehicle is over 8 years old.

Accidents: An  Accident Free vehicle verses one that shows an accident with little to no damage $500. Moderate Damage $1,000. Severe Damage or Airbags Deployed - $2,000(or more)

Smoke Foul Odor – This one really has a huge range. Most people(non-smokers) put a value of over $1,500 for one that is smoke free vs smoke odor. Many customers commented that they would not buy a vehicle with a foul smoke smell at any price. This can impact a vehicle thousands of dollars.

Tires: A vehicle with new tires has a $500 higher value than one needing tires. In some vehicles it could be as high as $1,000. This is one where you have to see and account for how much life is left and adjust your pricing accordingly.

Repairs/Maintenance: A vehicle that has been inspected, serviced and repaired on average has a $500 higher value than one that is in need of repairs. Always have a car inspected before you purchase it. It could easily add up to thousands of dollars if you buy a vehicle that is deficient on maintenance and repairs. Brake Job - $275-$500 – Alignment $70 – Timing Belt - $700-$900 – Suspension Work - $300-$600 – Oil Leaks - $500. Major engine and transmission work could easily get into the thousands of dollars for repairs. Spending $50-$75 for a pre-purchase inspection would be worth it.

Body Condition – A vehicle with Several minor door dings is worth about $200 less. Scratches needing paintwork to fix - $500. Often you will see poor previous repairs on bumpers. This changes values buy over $500 if substandard work is done. Cracked Windshield - $200

Interior Condition: Rips/Tears/Stains in Leather easily have $200- $500 impact on value. Also check for worn steering wheels, stains/tears in carpet or seat belts.

Canadian Vehicles: The US and mostly norther states are getting flooded with vehicles that spent their life in Canada. These vehicle should not be very high on your list of vehicles to consider. These vehicles can have a huge impact on the value for a number of reasons( Read: Why you should avoid buying a Canadian Vehicle). Canadian vehicles are worth $1,000 less and in many cases $2,000.

As you can see you can have two seemingly identical vehicles sitting next to each other, both with same year, make, model, options, color, and miles. Based on the above scenarios you could easily have a $3,000 difference in values. On paper both would have the same value but in reality one truly is a Good Deal and the other is one you should probably not consider. These websites don't subtract one dime for a vehicle that smells like smoke, has spent its life in Canada or is in Below Average Condition and needing repairs. Those seem like pretty important things to me.....I bet they do to you as well.